Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Obama Endorsement News

Barack Obama has received a bevy of endorsements recently some of them rather unusual.

From the press, the New York Post, The Stranger (Seattle) and Marin Independent-Journal (N. SF Bay, CA) are backing Obama. Here is the Post endorsement:


January 30, 2008 -- Democrats in 22 states across America go to the polls next Tuesday to pick between two presidential prospects: Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

We urge them to choose Obama - an untried candidate, to be sure, but preferable to the junior senator from New York.

Obama represents a fresh start.

His opponent, and her husband, stand for déjà vu all over again - a return to the opportunistic, scandal-scarred, morally muddled years of the almost infinitely self-indulgent Clinton co-presidency.

Does America really want to go through all that once again?

It will - if Sen. Clinton becomes president.

That much has become painfully apparent.

Bill Clinton's thuggishly self-centered campaign antics conjure so many bad, sad memories that it's hard to know where to begin.

Suffice it to say that his Peck's-Bad-Boy smirk - the Clinton trademark - wore thin a very long time ago.

Far more to the point, Sen. Clinton could have reined him in at any time. But she chose not to - which tells the nation all it needs to know about what a Clinton II presidency would be like.

Now, Obama is not without flaws.

For all his charisma and his eloquence, the rookie senator sorely lacks seasoning: Regarding national security, his worldview is beyond naive; America must defend itself against those sworn to destroy the nation.

His all-things-to-all-people approach to complicated domestic issues also arouses scant confidence. "Change!" for the sake of change does not a credible campaign platform make. But he remains a highly intelligent man, with a strong record as a conciliator.

And, again, he is not Team Clinton.

That counts for a very great deal.

A return to Sen. Clinton's cattle-futures deal, Travelgate, Whitewater, Filegate, the Lincoln Bedroom Fire Sale, Pardongate - and the inevitable replay of the Monica Mess?

No, thank you.

And don't forget the Clintons' trademark political cynicism. How else to explain Sen. Clinton's oft-contradictory policy stands: She voted for the war in Iraq, but now says it was a bad idea. She'd end it yesterday - but refuses to say how.

It's called "triangulation" - the Clintonian tactic by which the ends are played against the middle.

Once, it was effective - almost brilliant. Today, it is tired and tattered - and it reeks of cynicism and opportunism.

Finally, Sen. Clinton stands philosophically far to the left of her husband, and is much more disciplined in pursuit of her agenda.

At least Obama has the ability to inspire.

Again, we don't agree much with Obama on substantive issues.

But many Democrats will.

He should be their choice on Tuesday.

From the entertainment world, professional Hulk Hogan threw his support to Barack Obama. Designer Shepard Fairey is endorsing Barack with some new graphic art.

L.A. River
Shepard Fairey's New Poster

Elizabeth B. Moynihan, the widow of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, is endorsing Obama. Brooklyn City Councilmember Simcha Felder, an Orthodox Jew, is supporting the Illinois senator.

Across the country in Los Angeles, the openly-gay city councilman Bill Rosendhal is for Obama.

Other political endorsements: Macon, Georgia Mayor Robert Reichert; Palo Alto City Council Members Yoriko Kishimoto and Yiaway Yeh; NJ Senate President Richard Codey; and Rep. Paul C. Casey (D-Winchester).

More than eighty Guantanamo lawyers are endorsing Obama. Here's part of their letter of support:

"Some politicians are all talk and no action. But we know from first-hand experience that Senator Obama has demonstrated extraordinary leadership on this critical and controversial issue. When others stood back, Senator Obama helped lead the fight in the Senate against the Administration's efforts in the Fall of 2006 to strip the courts of jurisdiction, and when we were walking the halls of the Capitol trying to win over enough Senators to beat back the Administration's bill, Senator Obama made his key staffers and even his offices available to help us. Senator Obama worked with us to count the votes, and he personally lobbied colleagues who worried about the political ramifications of voting to preserve habeas corpus for the men held at Guantanamo. He has understood that our strength as a nation stems from our commitment to our core values, and that we are strong enough to protect both our security and those values. Senator Obama demonstrated real leadership then and since, continuing to raise Guantanamo and habeas corpus in his speeches and in the debates...We need a President who will restore the rule of law, demonstrate our commitment to human rights, and repair our reputation in the world community. Based on our work with him, we are convinced that Senator Obama can do this because he truly feels these issues 'in his bones"
And finally, Little India, describing itself as the largest circulation Indo-American magazine in America, is backing the Illinois senator:

Obama for President

There is something magical and transcendental in this moment about Sen. Barack Obama both for the country and the Indian American community.

The Editors

Little India has decided to break from its tradition of staying out of the primary selections by endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic Party nomination for president. We take this unusual step as we have come to share his inspiring message and his call for the "fierce urgency of now."

We value the Clintons' long association with the Indian American community and with India, so the decision to endorse her opponent has not been easy. But there is something magical and transcendental in this moment about Sen. Obama both for the country and the Indian American community.

His life story is in so many ways ours. In his political pursuits, he has defied both traditional paths pursued by minority politicians: identity politics built on narrow affiliations, typical of most ethnic leaders, as well as that of right wing politicians (like our own Bobby Jindal in Louisiana) who run from their history and identity. Obama, by contrast, has transcended boundaries. The Obama phenomenon, even if it does not get him the ultimate prize, offers something unique and it is important that we embrace this moment, for, as the Nobel Prize writer Toni Morrison wrote in her endorsement of Obama, "this is one of those singular moments that nations ignore at their peril."

We reject the proposition that Sen. Hillary Clinton's experience trumps the promise that Obama has to offer. As Sen. Obama has retorted: "One of my opponents says a vote for me would be a gamble. But the real gamble would be to do the same old things with the same old people over and over again and hope that the next time the results will somehow be different."

In the wake of the disastrous Bush presidency, Democrats are wistful about the Clinton era. In actual fact, the Clinton presidency was a period of political gridlock and public venom. Besides, Sen. Clinton already had an opportunity to shape public policy during Pres. Bill Clinton's term. We are likely to see a return of the stalemate and the tiresome and virulent conflicts of the 1990s if Clinton were the Democratic nominee. Indeed, the Clintons' subtle race-baiting tactics during the South Carolina primaries offer a preview of their divisive and ultimately futile scorched earth politics. Their reprehensible, win-at-all-costs, racially-laced attacks against Sen. Obama, even at the price of undermining their personal and historic commitments to racial justice, proved a tipping point for us, as they did for many other progressives in this country.

A Clinton supporter, Gloria Steinem, dubiously asserted that the gender barrier in politics is higher than the racial one, wondering: "Why is the sex barrier not taken as seriously as the racial one?"

But Sen. Clinton fails even by that measure, because her candidacy only underscores the painful stereotype that women's advancement begins at the altar. As Kerry Howley has tellingly pointed out, the first three women to serve in the Senate succeeded their husbands; six of the first 14 women elected to Congress were widows of incumbents and three others were daughters. Even Steinem would acknowledge that the gender barrier is better broken by a woman who wasn't riding her husband's coattails.

Sen. Obama, the son of an immigrant, offers an exciting opportunity to take Americans, men and women, of all races and affiliations, to an exciting new place and time. As Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., so eloquently said in his endorsement: "In Barack Obama, I see not just the audacity, but the possibility of hope for the America that is yet to be."

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